Silence Of The Wolf Page 64

Tom studied his cousin and couldn\ believe that at one time, CJ and his brothers had saved Elizabeth\s life.

’’Thanks,’’ she said softly, ’’for coming to my aid.’’

Tom scowled. ’’You and your brothers should have killed the bastard.’’

’’We weren\ in our territory. If Bruin had learned we were there, he would have killed us. You know what he was like.’’

Tom shook his head. ’’You should have killed him.’’ Hell, if they had, Elizabeth would never have had all the troubles she\d had lately. Then again, she probably wouldn\ have done the story on their ski resort if her main goal hadn\ been to meet up with North. Tom wouldn\ have met her. ’’Who\s behind stalking the livestock, then? The farmers are all up in arms. Somebody could get killed.’’

’’Damn it, Tom. You know my brothers will want to kill me.’’

’’Better them than me.’’

CJ looked mutinous but didn\ say anything. Tom changed tactics.

’’We were friends once,’’ Tom said, trying to coax CJ to explain everything to him.

’’I know. Why do you think I didn\ go along with any of this?’’

’’Any of what?’’ Tom wanted specifics. Had CJ really not had anything to do with the problems the pack had?

’’The livestock scares.’’ CJ looked down at the floor.

’’We suspected it was the four of you,’’ Tom said, though only three wolves had been spotted. But the brothers did everything together, or had in the past.

’’Not me,’’ CJ said defiantly.

’’Why not you?’’

’’Eric, Brett, and Sarandon all have a grudge against Darien because he murdered our father. If our father had taken over when yours died instead of Darien... I was angry, but you were still my cousins. We were still a pack.’’

’’No longer. You abandoned the pack,’’ Tom said.

’’I know, Tom. It was a mistake to leave the pack. All right?’’ CJ sounded exasperated. ’’I didn\ like Darien\s first mate. She was a cancer in the pack. I liked Lelandi. What my father did was wrong, but he was still my father and my brothers felt like we couldn\ stay. I didn\ want my only family to leave without me. But I grew up with most of the people in the pack. They\ e my family, too, and now I wish I\d never left with my brothers.’’

’’Why didn\ you just come back to the pack?’’ Tom asked, still hoping that his cousins would. Darien would make them pay in some way for putting pack members in danger by scaring the farmers, but no one in their pack had been hurt because of it so far.

’’I wanted to, but Eric wouldn\ hear of it.’’

’’So why were your brothers stalking the livestock?’’

’’We\ve been looking for a way to come back into the pack and still save face. We knew what our father had done reflected poorly on us, as had leaving the pack. We thought if we could help the pack in some way, it could work in our favor. I don\ know why my brothers thought stalking the farms was a good idea, but I don\ control what they do.’’

Tom breathed a sigh of relief. ’’Hell, CJ, we thought you were getting ready to cause trouble. Revenge against the pack or something. Why else would you wear hunter\s spray?’’

’’Because we didn\ want you guys to know it was us before we could come up with a good reason not to just kick us out of the territory.’’

’’For a while we thought you might have been the ones behind all of Elizabeth\s trouble because we couldn\ pick up those men\s scent, either.’’

CJ glanced at Elizabeth. She handed him the water and chili. He took it but didn\ thank her.

’’We weren\ but Eric talked to a wolf who was also wearing hunter\s spray up on the ski slope.’’

’’You were up on the ski slope?’’ Tom asked.

’’Yeah. Hell, just because we left the pack, it didn\ mean we didn\ want to hit the powder during the first big snowfall of the season. We saw you with Elizabeth and were curious about who she was. Especially when we saw her kiss you. I\ll admit it killed me to see the two of you kissing like nobody else in the world existed, and I couldn\ even rib you about it.’’

Tom glanced at Elizabeth. Her cheeks turned rosy.

’’Anyway this really nosy guy approached us. Asked why the woman was getting so much attention. Naturally, we tried to smell him and couldn\ . He had to have been wearing hunter\s spray like we were. And he was covered up like we were. Not that it wasn\ cold, but it just seemed odd that he was hiding his identity from other wolves like we were doing. And we saw him getting into a white minivan in a big hurry. Also odd.

’’Right after that, we heard that someone had shoved the lady down the slope. We all hung around and questioned staff to see if she would be all right. We knew that you were interested in her and were ready to hunt down the dude who had pushed her, hoping that maybe bringing him to justice would give us points toward getting back in with the pack. But we weren\ able to track him, and then Elizabeth left town, so we were back to square one.’’

’’So what were you doing out here, then?’’ Tom asked.

’’Been living in the area. We knew Elizabeth had left on a plane in a real hurry, and I wondered why, seeing how close you two had become in such a short time. When I heard the sound of a plane in trouble, I knew I shouldn\ mess with it because I was in my wolf coat, but... you know how we are. Too curious for our own good.

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